I am helping a friend move out of her house this week. She is packing up her big house to move to an apartment far away. The move makes sense in so many ways, and she knows it, but that doesn’t make it easier. I take down her family photos so she doesn’t have to remember so many moments. A set of dishes goes into storage in wait for her daughter. So do the teddy bears and the favorite books. We pack up art supplies to give to her friends. Another friend comes by for a twin sized mattress. We take moments to laugh. I think of what it is going to be like without her around the corner. She imagines life in her new (very small) place. It is, for her, liberating, terrifying, confusing, thrilling and terribly sad. All of those things, all at once.
I think about my mediation clients, and how divorce is, for them, liberating, terrifying, confusing, thrilling and terribly sad. All of those things, maybe not all at once.
I once wrote a paper about liminal moments in a person’s life. You can think of them as transitions, but they are so much more. Life changing transitions. Moving can be one. Divorce can be one. The death of a spouse or a child or a parent. They can be gradual like a ramp, or jagged and sudden.
And then, one day, you are in the new place, looking out of a different window, hearing different sounds outside your door. You have a new perspective. Something shifts inside. You let yourself laugh again. You find joy in little things. You remember. You hope. You are a little bit different but you find your equilibrium.
What were the liminal moments in your life? Are you going through one now? How did you find your balance again? What helped? I’d love to know.